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Mon., Aug. 31
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Should Norwood Become A Town?


NORWOOD - Eight Norwood residents are hoping they will soon have the answer to one of the village's more pressing questions - should they become a town?
The village board unanimously approved the creation of a special advisory committee Tuesday that will investigate the potential for a town of Norwood.
Their first task is to gauge the interest level from residents inside and outside current village limits.
"We're not going to try to micromanage what you do," Mayor James H. McFaddin told committee members. "We want you to go out there and find out if this makes sense, forming the town of Norwood, and if we have support from the residents."
Mr. McFaddin said in August he and village leaders would explore the possibility of turning Norwood into its own town. The plan was fueled by the village's desire to control its own destiny, he said.
At the time, the plan hinged on the dissolution of the village of Potsdam, but recently the mayor has said Norwood may consider the idea even if Potsdam remains intact after November's vote.
The town of Norwood would include the entire 13668 ZIP code, more than tripling the current population and expanding its bounds two to three miles beyond its current border.
If the move were successful, Norwood would become the first municipality in the state's history to alter existing town lines and successfully establish a separate township, state officials have said.
But Mr. McFaddin and village leaders are not shying away from the challenge.
"Maybe Norwood can set a precedent for everyone across the state and for all these small villages where they are putting undue pressure on them to dissolve and leave their services in limbo," he said.
If the committee finds there is strong support behind the idea, they will then begin to draft a request for a state funded grant. That money would be used to hire a consultant to help guide local officials through the process, Mr. McFaddin said.
Since his election, the governor has been trying to cut costs and simplify the decision making process by eliminating layers of government, Mr. McFaddin said.
But dissolution will actually have the opposite effect, particularly in Potsdam, Mr. McFaddin suggested.
"It's going to increase costs. It's going to confuse decision making and it could place neighbor against neighbor," he said.
Taxes are estimated to rise as much as 30 percent in the village of Norwood should the village of Potsdam dissolve, the mayor said. Instead of simply accepting the tax hike, voters should take note of the growth that is happening around Norwood and realize the community has the ability to sustain itself, he said.
"The village has the infrastructure, it has the staffing and it has the buildings," Mr. McFaddin said. "It has everything it needs to service the two to three mile radius around the village at less costs and better service."
Lynn M. Bancroft, one of the advisory committee members, said she volunteered for the position because of her concerns over what may happen to Norwood should Potsdam dissolve. Ms. Bancroft said she is not committed to a town transition yet.
"I would like to investigate the possibility and see what information we can gather and what the results might be," she said. "If it would be advantageous to folks, I might be for it. But I can't just say it should happen without the facts."
Ms. Bancroft will join Ann E. Watson, William and Mary Grant, Sheryl B. Cole, D.J. Colbert, Howard L. Maroney and David C. Flint as members of the advisory committee.
If the village of Potsdam were to dissolve, attorney Robert J. Sassone will also join the committee, Mr. McFaddin said.
The committee has scheduled their first meeting for 5 p.m. Oct. 25 in the village's municipal building.

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